The Taste Makers – 15 minutes with Fiona Reid
I am completely delighted to bring you this weeks taste maker, not only a beautiful writer and fantastic journalist but a great friend too. Fiona works as a freelance journalist specializing in interiors, property and architecture. She has been writing about design for eighteen years, working as a journalist for newspapers and magazines across the UK. It started as an interest, an opportunity at the time, and grew into a passion. She studied fashion design so interiors was a natural progression.
She began writing her first property blog, The Property Files, in early 2013, and the design blog Copperline later the same year. The time came to merge the two together, and so the new blog – Copperline was born last summer. Fiona and I have worked together on many, many interior features, she is the most beautiful writer, a talent that I am truly envious of.
1. What started you on this journey?
I’d like to have a glamorous sounding answer for this, but in all honesty, I started blogging through the frustrations I was feeling at losing lots of print work. Evolutions in technology, changes in the way we get our information, budget cuts… there’s a lot less work around as a journalist these days, and I missed writing about interiors in the way that I used to. Starting to blog back in 2013 was a natural evolution. I wanted to write and share content that I no longer had the opportunity to write for print publications. And that just grew and grew as I realized that I really enjoyed the creative freedom of blogging.
2. Who or what inspires you?
I’m constantly inspired by things I see online – by sites like Yellowtrace or Yatzer that are so full of amazing and diverse content. I’m inspired by Instagram on a daily basis. I need imagery for inspiration, so while there isn’t a direct correlation between watching movies and writing a design blog, I’ve always been most inspired visually by films. A great movie feeds your brain and your eyes.
3. When you were little you wanted to grow up and…. ?
… be a vet. I loved animals as a child – okay, all children love animals! But I wanted to work with animals. That’s all I could imagine doing. Clearly my ideas changed somewhere along the way as I went to art college instead! But animal welfare remains something that I feel very connected with, and this has informed the decisions I’ve made into adulthood.
4. What makes a home?
Isn’t it funny how your ideas about this change as you get older? The people in it make a home – and by ‘people’ I also mean dogs! Also, your home is your sanctuary. It isn’t so much about a specific aesthetic as a feeling, although clearly an aesthetic can help create that feeling. So for me it’s about a sense of calm and peace, which translates into lots of natural light and natural textures, and a lack of colour. Nothing to create a busy mind – as I have one of those already! But, fundamentally, being ‘home’ is being with my family.
5. Describe your ideal day off?
Woodland or beach. Or maybe woodland and beach. Getting in the car with my partner and Harris, our wirehaired dachshund, and either driving down the east coast to Tyninghame, or heading over to Fife and going to Tenstmuir or Cammo Estate. Walking through the woods with Harris, watching him explore, and taking way too many photos of trees, and having a flask of tea and some vegan choc chip shortbread waiting when we get back to the car. That’s my perfect day.
6. What is your favourite part of your job?
Interviewing people. From the start of becoming a journalist my work has always been interview based, and that’s the part I’ve loved most. Now with Copperline, I don’t get to meet people as often because of geography and a lot of interviews are by email, but I’ve always loved discovering the ideas behind an interior or a piece of design. Also, choosing things to write about. I love sourcing stories – I always have.
7. What are you most proud of?
Good question. In the context of work, I really have no idea. When I was younger I always thought that my work would make me most proud; that work would be the thing that gave me the greatest sense of achievement. But now, it’s about other things. It’s about being in my 40s and still doing something I love, which is no mean feat frankly. It’s about making a commitment 21 years ago to be healthy and fit, and sticking with that ever since – although now that means yoga more than hours in the gym.
Also, Harris. If you aren’t a dog parent that might not make any sense! But having a dog has changed our lives. He’s changed me completely. So that commitment is actually the thing I’m most proud of.
8. What’s your biggest weakness?
Montezuma’s dark vegan chocolate, particularly Sea Dog. I have no words for how good this is…
9. Instagram, Pinterest and Steller are very powerful tools – have they changed the way you do business?
Absolutely! They have changed… everything. I guess it started with Pinterest for me, as a way of sourcing content and finding inspiration. Whenever I’m having a mental block, I head to Pinterest to wake my brain up. Instagram also does this, but I have two accounts – one for my blog and one for myself – and both work in different ways. People can understand where I am in terms of design through the blog account, but people understand who I am through my own account, and I’ve made some amazing connections through Instagram. It’s a cliché really but it’s opened up my world.
And Steller was the thing that I was missing, although I didn’t realize I was missing it until it appeared. In 2014 I was fairly disillusioned with work and was considering a career change. Then I started producing content on Steller and it re-engaged me again. I love writing about design, but I also love photography and sharing stories and places and experiences. I was excited by it again and realized I couldn’t walk away, which is why I combined my previous blogs to create Copperline last year. Now when I’m thinking of the blog content, I always think about whether it will create a Steller story. Not everyone wants to follow or indeed read a blog post, but a lot of people will engage with a very visual story in an app.
10. Which designer would you like to meet and interview?
That’s a difficult one to answer! I have a list of film directors I’d love to meet and interview! But sticking to design… I’d love to travel to New Zealand and interview Jeff Fearon and Tim Hay of Fearon Hay Architects about their truly beautiful houses. And, you know, see New Zealand!
11. Which place to you long to visit the most?
I haven’t travelled much, which feels like a terrible thing to admit, but there you go… There are cities I still haven’t been to but feel that I should have seen by this stage in life, like Stockholm and Copenhagen, but I’d also like to go to Iceland for its incredible landscapes. Really, there are so many places. Instagram makes you realize all the places that you haven’t seen, but that you really should see.
12. What makes you laugh?
Trying to watch a tense movie, or maybe something slow and thoughtful and beautiful, while Harris is snoring loudly on my lap. Five years ago I’d have been watching that movie in The Filmhouse or Cameo – no talking, no popcorn, no distractions please! – but now I’m home, having this cinematic moment with a snoring dachshund. And not minding this at all. And I’m laughing as I realize how much life has changed.
Thank you SO much Fiona! here are the links to Fiona’s blog and social media accounts.
Fiona’s blog IG: https://www.instagram.com/copperlineco/
Fiona’s IG: https://www.instagram.com/coppernotes/
Harris (Fiona’s beautiful dog) : https://www.instagram.com/theworldaccordingtoharris/
Thank you to the following for allowing use of their beautiful interior photography.
The Modern House: http://www.themodernhouse.com/
Domus Nova :http://www.domusnova.com/
Square Foot Media http://squarefootmedia.co.uk/.
Exposure : http:/www.photographyandfloorplans.co.uk